Preparing for the fall – Batching cooking number 3

School started a few weeks ago and our days are getting much busier.  We had a great summer, and we’ve enjoyed lots of good, fresh food.  With school starting, I knew it was time to do another round of batch cooking.  If you’ve never done batch cooking, I suggest checking out my previous posts.

In the past, I have done a big shopping trip before cooking and had to buy almost all of the ingredients that I would need.  I kept track of exactly how much I spent and was able to figure out how much each meal cost.

This time, I took a different approach.  I went through our freezer and pantry and found ingredients that we already had.  Keeping all of those in mind, I then began searching for recipes that would use the items that we had at home.  I already buy our cheese, pasta, and canned tomatoes in bulk, so I didn’t need to buy those items.  I also didn’t want to buy food that would only used for these recipes. In the end, I only spent money on the meat, a bag of dried black beans, and the vegetables.  Here’s a list and links to the food that I cooked.

6 meat loaves – used my grandmother’s recipe.  We’ll get 3 servings out of each meatloaf.  I spent $24 on the meat, which means each serving cost $1.34.

2 black bean and spinach taco casseroles – I have a green smoothie most days and already had the spinach.  I made the tortillas from scratch and, since I make our bread at home, I already had the ingredients for those.  We’ll get at least 2 servings from each casserole and the beans cost $2.  That means that each serving cost 50 cents.

4 pounds of pork loan that are in a marinade – I used ingredients that I already had to make the marinade instead of buying a pre-made marinade. We’ll get 2 servings out each pound.  I spent $24 on the meat which means each serving cost $3.00.

2 taco casseroles – We’ll get at least 6 servings from each casserole.  I already had the corn and beans left over from other meals.  I only spent $12 on the meat, which means each serving will cost $2.00

2 homemade hamburger helper casseroles – Only had to buy the meat ($12) for this recipe and we’ll get at least 6 servings from each casserole.  The recipe came from this cookbook:   Each serving will cost $2.00

3 pounds of cooked ground turkey – I use this for nights when we have spaghetti or tacos.  Might seem silly, but it takes less time to thaw cooked meat than it does to thaw frozen meat and then cook it.

I bought 1/2 a bushel of green beans (about 12 pounds) from a local farmer for $15 and plan on freezing them and having them on nights when we have the pork loan.

I also went ahead and made some zucchini muffins, biscuits, and pancakes to use as healthy, fast breakfasts.

As you can tell, I mostly spent money on the meat.  Things are going to get busy very quickly, and I’m looking forward to having all these meals throughout the next few months.

If you haven’t tried cooking in batches yet, I highly suggest doing so.  It is a great way to save time and money.  It took a little bit more creativity and planning this time, but I’m very proud of what I accomplished.


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